At Jamila + Juliette, we pride ourselves on using foam-free floral mechanics to design beautiful installations for our clients’ weddings. While floral foam is convenient, we put the environment and our client’s health first by avoiding it. Instead, we embrace all-natural alternatives that are kind to the planet. Whether you’re a florist who wants to ditch floral foam or a couple concerned with planning a sustainable wedding, keep reading to discover our techniques. While you're at it, enjoy examples of our work from a styled shoot inspired by Alice in Wonderland and bringing nature indoors!

Foam-Free Floristry Techniques

There are many methods for designing without floral foam, from small centerpieces to high-impact installations. While many assume foam is the most convenient/quickest option, that isn’t always the case. The most crucial thing to consider is the weight of the arrangement(s) and the lifespan of the cut flowers you’re using.

For example, even with floral foam, you need to cut certain flowers (e.g., hydrangeas) in a specific way and keep them well-hydrated to ensure they don’t wilt. For this reason, we design using chicken wire to attach a small water tube to each flower. That way, each delicate blossom is hydrated to form a beautiful arch design without the need for floral foam. 

Avoiding floral foam involves building the installation in less time so the flowers stay hydrated, usually ten to 15 hours before the event. Accordingly, we recommend choosing floral varieties that don’t wither as quickly. We love incorporating green plants, bushes, and trees into large installations to fill them out and provide a unique look.

How we design sustainable weddings with foam-free floral mechanics

Another technique we employ is small grass squares in soil, as in the above example. We can plant the flowers directly into the dirt or hidden glass tubes. This technique works well for large installations and can hydrate the flowers for up to 30 hours (if done well). 

Our preferred technique for smaller floral arrangements, like centerpieces, depends on the design. If the flowers are inside a ceramic or metal vase, we can use chicken wire, pebbles, or ikebanas to help them stand upright. Ceramic flower frogs are another great option that provides an organic look.

Why Foam-Free Floral Mechanics are Important

As wedding florists, we emphasize foam-free mechanics for several reasons. The primary reason we’ve embraced this alternative design method is the environment! Many couples would be horrified if they knew how much garbage one single-day event can produce. Not to mention that flight emissions also have to be factored into the overall carbon footprint of destination weddings. We wouldn’t want our union with our partner to worsen the problems already facing our oceans and wildlife, and we know that our clients feel the same way.

Accordingly, we embrace methods of reducing single-use waste, including composting food, using fresh local products, and working with other vendors who share our values. We also restrict ourselves to environmentally friendly materials. For example, chicken wire is reusable and biodegradable, whereas floral foam is a non-biodegradable material that threatens marine life. 

However, floral foam isn’t just bad news for the planet’s health. It’s also harmful to humans! It’s chock-full of microplastics and toxic chemicals that damage the lungs when inhaled. While floral designers should use gloves and masks when handling floral foam, many don’t, leading to long-term health effects.

Foam-free techniques from an Ecuador wedding florist
Jamila + Juliette - Ecuador Sustainable Wedding Florist

Jamila + Juliette is committed to using foam-free floral mechanics that won’t harm the environment, wildlife, or humans. With so many innovative techniques that make it easier to avoid this toxic material, we encourage other wedding florists to do the same! If you’re a couple who shares our values, we welcome the opportunity to work together to design your wedding day. We plan intimate weddings throughout Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and offer services ranging from floral design to full-service planning. Reach out to learn more!

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